‘It’s shameful:’ Search on for attackers in series of hate crimes against Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg

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WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — It’s happened so frequently lately, with the same group of people as victims, that the NYPD is now investigating as hate crimes a series of attacks in this Brooklyn neighborhood.  The latest crime happened Monday night, and now the search is on for a lengthening list of suspects.

“My wife started making noise, and my son ran over to help,” said a man who identified himself only as Manny, about how his family helped to stop the attack on his next door neighbor Monday night.  “They started running away” after his wife and son got involved, he said about the two attackers, a man and a woman, who his wife and son spotted from the balcony across the street from the crime, which happened at around 11:15 P.M.

The victim, 62, was walking home from his synagogue, when the pair accosted him.

“For no good reason,” said Manny, “when somebody’s walking home like that and gets attacked like that, it’s shameful.”

The two young people beat the man with an object he couldn’t clearly see.  It was the latest in a series of recent attacks on Hasidic Orthodox Jewish men in Williamsburg.  On Monday of last week, another Hasidic man was beaten with an object that he felt all too well — a glass bottle. Police released a surveillance video image of that suspect, and searched for DNA clues from the cap the suspect had dropped at the scene, but at this point there has been no arrest.

Also, a day before that attack, somebody shot a paintball at another Orthodox Jewish man, while he stood near the corner of Lee Avenue and Rodney Street, a block from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where the suspects may have sped off.  It was the fifth paintball attack on an Orthodox Jewish person in Williamsburg since March.  In each case, there appears to be one bad motive.

“I think maybe because it’s racist,” said one Hasidic man in his 20s.  Like many people in the Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, he did not want his name used for news coverage.

However, one Orthodox Jewish community leader, Isaac Abraham, said in an interview that he felt the NYPD is being discouraged by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials from acting decisively against all crime, including hate crimes.   

“An innocent person walking in the greatest city,” said Abraham, “what’s called the safest city, and just be for no reason attacked by two young punks, who seemed to enjoy it,  are they lucky it wasn’t me.”

Police are offering at least $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the bottle attack last week.  The NYPD’s hate crime task force is working on all of the recent cases.

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